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When Aishwarrya delivered a baby girl, The doctor welcomed the baby,
“You will be amazed to know which family you are born in.
Do you know who your Grandfather is?”
The baby replied, “Yes, the greatest actor of Bollywood.
“The Doctor was shocked.Then he asked,
“Do you know who your Mother is?”
The baby replied, “One of the most beautiful ladies in the world. Miss World.
“The doctor then asked, “Do you know who your Father is?
“The baby replied, “NO IDEA”
(contributed by: Mohan Rao on 10.12.2011)NICE REPLY When Aishwarrya delivered a baby girl, The doctor welcomed the baby, “You will be amazed to know which family you are born in. Do you know who your Grandfather is?” The baby replied, “Yes, the greatest actor of Bollywood. “The Doctor was shocked.Then he asked, “Do you know who your Mother is?” The baby replied, “One of the most beautiful ladies ...
MUMBAI: A tiny mechanized device weighing 400 grams may soon give a new lease of life to more than 4 million people in the country who die of heart failure every year. A Mumbai hospital has brought in the technology to implant an artificial heart that takes over the functioning of the original heart and promises to double the patient’s life-expectancy.
Bandra’s Asian Heart Institute recently completed training its team of doctors to implant the device in patients of heart failure. End-stage heart disease, wherein the heart loses its ability to pump oxygenated blood into the body, is currently almost means a death sentence for the patient. The lifesaver that runs on rechargeable batteries, however, will come at varying costs. At the AHI, it will cost a
whopping Rs 1 crore.
Experts say with incidence of heart failure increasing by 2 million annually and heart transplants being a distant dream in the country, this technology could be the way forward. Vice-chairman and Managing Director of AHI, Dr Ramakant Panda said, “Less than 1% of heart failure patients have any chance of getting an organ for transplant. This device, much smaller than the original heart, could be our solution to heart failure,” he said. He explained that the artificial heart not only gives the patient a shot at life, it also allows the natural heart to recover. In 10-15% of patients, the original heart recovers and the device is then removed.
Panda explained that the artificial heart will help patients who are ideal candidates for a heart transplant but need assistance to stay alive till they get a donor. “But for patients who do not even have the option to undergo cardiac transplantation, this technology is probably the only answer to stay alive,” he said.
Globally over 10,000 people are believed to be living with the device that is considered the most sophisticated to assist a failing heart. Senior consultant cardiovascular surgeon Dr Prashant Vaijyanath, who
is part of the team that will be carrying out the artificial heart transplants in AHI, said, “The device restores normal blood flow throughout the body, making it possible for the patient to breathe easily. All the fatigue associated with the condition goes away.” He said the logic was simple. “All organs start receiving more blood than they did before. Patients can resume their normal activities, including running and cycling, simply because they feel more energetic,” he added. However, patients will not be able to swim, he cautioned.
AHI would be the first facility in western India to offer the transplant. Recently, Bangalore’s Narayan Hrudalaya too got the green signal to start the programme. Earlier in 2008, it had performed artificial heart transplants in four patients. The program however, had to be aborted due to the global meltdown in 2009 that led to the closure of the company making the device. Now, technology has changed drastically. The device used for transplants in 2008 is all but obsolete, replaced by newer ones which are sleeker and better.
Cardiovascular surgeon Dr T R Rajesh, who consults with Narayan Hrudalaya and had performed the transplants back in 2008, termed the new technology as a game changer. “Even today if a patient is given a choice between a transplant and getting the artificial heart, the patient chooses the latter. The post-operative management of patients is simpler compared to a heart transplant. There is no question of the organ being rejected or the patient having to follow a strict regime,” he said. He said Narayan Hrudalaya would offer artificial heart transplants at a cost of Rs 50 lakh. “We will charge patients only for the device and will waive off other fees,” he said.
Rajesh, however, said the artificial heart comes with its own share of flaws. “Chances of infection, even if less than 10%, are there. There will be cables sticking out of the body which many may not prefer,” he said. Panda too echoed the same and said that affordability will remain the biggest hurdle. “Over the next 10-15 years, the cost may come down to a few lakhs as demand increases,” he said.
(contributed by : Amr on 28.09.2012)
www.exoticindia.comShiva is ‘shakti’ or power. Shiva is the destroyer, the most powerful God of the Hindu pantheon and one of the God heads in the Hindu Trinity. Shiva, known by many names – Mahadeva, Mahayogi, Pashupati, Nataraja, Bhairava, Vishwanath, Bhava, Bhole Nath. Lord Shiva is perhaps the most complex of Hindu deities. Hindus recognize this by putting his shrine in the temple separate from those of other deities.Shiva As Phallic SymbolShiva, in temples is usually found as a phallic symbol of the ‘linga’, which represents the energies necessary for life on both the microcosmic and the macrocosmic levels, that is, the world in which we live and the world which constitutes the whole of the universe. In a Shaivite temple, the ‘linga’ is placed in the center underneath the spire, where it symbolizes the naval of the earth.Story of the Shiva LingamA Different DeityThe actual image of Shiva is also distinct from other deities: his hair piled high on the top of his head, with a crescent tucked into it and the river Ganges tumbling from his hairs. Around his neck is a coiled serpent representing Kundalini or the spiritual energy within life. He holds a trident in his left hand in which is bound the ‘damroo’ (small leather drum). He sits on a tiger skin and on his right is a water pot. He wears the ‘Rudraksha’ beads and his whole body is smeared with ash.The Destructive ForceShiva is believed to be at the core of the centrifugal force of the universe, because of his responsibility for death and destruction. Unlike the Godhead Brahma, the Creator, or Vishnu, the Preserver, Shiva is the dissolving force in life. But Shiva dissolves in order to create, since death is the medium for rebirth into a new life. So the opposites of life anddeath and creation and destruction both reside in his character.The Most Fascinating of GodsShiva is also often portrayed as the supreme ascetic with a passive and composed disposition. Sometimes he is depicted riding a bull called Nandi decked in garlands. Although a very complicated deity, Shiva is one of the most fascinating of Hindu gods.The God Who’s Always HighSince Shiva is regarded as a mighty destructive power, to numb his negative potentials he is fed with opium and is also termed as ‘Bhole Shankar’, one who is oblivious of the world. Therefore, on Maha Shivratri, the night of Shiva worship, devotees, especially the menfolk, prepare an intoxicating drink called ‘Thandai’ (made from cannabis, almonds, and milk) sing songs in praise of the Lord and dance to the rhythm of the drums.(source: http://hinduism.about.com/od/lordshiva/p/shiva.htm)
The head of a former royal family renounced any personal claim to billions of dollars’ worth of ancient treasure discovered in a temple in Thiruvanantharam, the kingdom his ancestors once ruled. Padma Rao Sundarji speaks to Uthradam Thirunal Marthanda Varma, the former King of Tranvancore.
PRS: What is your family’s connection with the Padmanabhaswamy temple?
Varma: We are the Cheras, one of the four erstwhile royal families of South India and have a long and dynastic family tree. By 1750 Travancore had become rich and big. So my ancestor, the then king, made a unique spiritual and historical contribution. He decided to surrender all his riches to the temple – Padmanabhaswamy is also our family deity. He said our family would look after that wealth, the temple and the kingdom forever. But he did want the ego that comes with possessing it. He was influenced by Emperor Ashoka’s catharsis in the killing fields of Kalinga. So he declared our family to be Padmanabha’s ‘dasas’, devotees. A servant can resign his job, but a dasa can do so only when he dies.
PRS: You are one of the wealthiest families in India and yet, you live in a spartan way, unlike many other ex-royals. Why?
Varma: I have to go back a bit in time, to explain why. Everybody thinks that we Indians first rose against British colonial rule in 1857. Wrong. In 1741, Travancore was the only Asian power to defeat the Dutch when they arrived here. After the battle, all the Dutch soldiers kneeled before my ancestors. One Dutchman, Benedictus Eustachius, even joined our army. We called him the Great Kapitan. Later, I learned that he was [US president] Franklin Roosevelt’s ancestor when the latter’s grandson came to look at our historical records.
Then in 1839, almost two decades before the mutiny, we rose against the British. Our punishment was severe. They disbanded our police and army of 50,000, transferred our capital to Kollam, dumped two British regiments on us, and ordered us to pay for their upkeep. Thomas Munroe named himself Diwan of Travancore. When our spirit still did not flag, they brought in missionaries. But we did not get gobbled up by Western thought. We travel abroad occasionally, but it has not affected or changed our simple way of life. Why am I telling you this? So that you get an idea of how much our life has revolved around our faith, despite so many outside influences and kept us going.
PRS: How do you feel about what is happening around the temple right now – its cellars being opened up, your donations being discussed around the world, the criticism, the furore?
Varma: Sorry, I cannot comment on what is happening there – the matter is subjudice. But this much I will say. I have no problem with the inventory and additional security being provided by the state to the temple. But please don’t remove those objects from the temple. They belong to nobody, certainly not to our family. They belong to god and our law permits that. All these debates swirling around the riches is unfortunate. That’s all I can say – I have to listen to my doctor, lawyer and auditor. Our family has been donating objects to the temple for centuries. As chief patron of the temple, I go there every day. If I miss a day, I am fined Rs 166.35 – an old Travancore tradition.
PRS: But you cannot deny that such wealth could be put to better use for the poor.
Varma: We Indians are more educated now. But this reaction to donations inside a temple is anything but progressive. We are slowly losing our Indian identity. Money has become everything. But I am not surprised. I would rather be philosophical than disillusioned because I can’t change the world.
PRS: Then there is the rationalist argument that this is blind faith.
Varma: Please think of England’s Henry VIII in the late 1500s. He had two passions. Wives and money. So he pillaged churches. Finally, he ran into a problem because he wanted a divorce from Catherine of Aragon. The church refused, because she was a zealous Spanish Catholic. His cardinal advised him to invent his own church. So he did that – just to get a divorce. Is that rational?
It is rather difficult to explain our faith to the new world where people have none anymore. When selfishness grows, everything you do seems right, and everything others do seems wrong. It’s all about what do I get, not about what do I do. I like the memory of my trip to a game reserve South Africa. After seeing many wild animals, I asked the guide which was the most rapacious and fearsome. He showed me a mirror.
PRS: What is your source of income? What does your family live off ?
Varma: We have travel and hotel businesses. I am chairman of a former British company that exports various items from Kerala – but no, not pepper to Buckingham Palace, as reported. We also run seven trusts. We spend R5-8 lakh a year on education, health and housing for the poor. We pay good salaries. And the family itself contributes money every month. No government has acknowledged our work but that is all right. We do it because we want to do it.
PRS: Gold statues studded with rubies and diamonds, saphhires, gold coins of the Napoleonic era and the East India Company. Is all that true?
Varma: I have never been inside those cellars. Our philosophy has always been not to look at such objects and get tempted. But of course I know what is inside them.
PRS: Are the younger members of your family angrier than you about the heated public debate?
Varma: I am the most hot-blooded in this family but on this matter, we all feel the same. I was a soldier – a colonel for 15 years in the Madras Regiment. I would like to ask those criticizing us for donating these objects: why are they bothered about what someone else has done? What are they doing in the name of faith themselves ? Why the hot gossip over a donation to God?
PRS: At 90, you don’t even use a walking stick. What is your daily routine ?
Varma: We have all been brought up very strictly and frugally. My day starts at 4 am with yoga. I only drink milk, I am a vegetarian and a tee totaler. I read the Vedas everyday. I go the temple for a ten-minute private audience with the deity every morning. After that, I indulge in one of my hobbies – “media surgery.” I read the newspapers and clip articles over breakfast. I have a collection of the past 30 years. I will give those to the Trust because my children may not be interested. People come to meet me, they invite me to inaugurate functions. I speak extempore. I go from vertical to horizontal for about 20 minutes in the afternoon. I am in bed by 9.45 PM. I have always slept well. Since there is nothing on my conscience, sleep comes swiftly.
PRS: Are you now thinking of insuring those treasures, now that the whole world is talking about them, or are they already insured ?
Varma: (laughs) I am least worried that they will be stolen. If that happens, then it was the Lord’s will.
PRS: Among your ancestors were famous Carnatic musician Swati Thirunal and painter Raja Ravi Varma. What are your passions?
Varma: Those two ancestors gave music and art divinity and humanity respectively. That continues. I love art. I once saw a piece of exquisite china in Venice. It was a girl on a swing with the sand looking worn just where her feet touched the ground each time. It cost 100 pounds, I could only afford 40, as foreign exchange was limited those days. So I went away. The dealer called me back and gave it to me. He said he could tell that I was not one of those who ordered 200 pieces of one kind, that I valued minute details.
PRS: Kerala has been a Communist bastion for more than 50 years. Don’t you find it peculiar that people here still flurry around you, they respect you, they still call you Your Highness.
Varma: Yes, that is quite amazing because I am a simple man, I don’t expect it at all. At religious gatherings in Haridwar where one of my two gurus lives, I always sit in the last row and am always dressed like this – mundu and bush-shirt. People who don’t know me come looking for the Raja of the South. When I raise my hand, they don’t believe me.
PRS: How wealthy is your family, compared to the other – and internationally more famous – royals of Rajasthan and elsewhere?
Varma: That is a mere technicality and has never been relevant to me. But I’ll tell you a story which will give you an idea. There used to be a British gun salute for the princely states of India: 21, the highest for the richest ruler, 11 for the poorest. When Tranvancore refused to contribute soldiers to the British Army in World War I, our slipped from 21 to 19.
PRS: Who is your heir?
Varma: We have a matriarchal system of inheritance. I have a daughter and a son but it is my sister’s son who will be king after me. I remember a European lady visiting us. I explained this complicated law of succession to her. When she went back, she told her friends that she had not understood a word, but only knew that whatever it was, it was good for women. Kerala is slowly turning patriarchal again. That is not good. Overall in our country, we treat women as second-class citizens. When you look at a man, you are looking at a human being, when you look at a woman, you are looking at a family.
PRS: What is the feeling you get, when you spend those ten minutes at the Padmanabha shrine ? The daily communion between ruler and master, as you put it ?
Varma: Gooseflesh. Everything is surrendered. It is a great, elating feeling. My hair stands on end with joy. Each and every time.
(Padma Rao Sundarji is South Asia bureau chief of Der Spiegel)
(contributed by:Mohan Rao on 16.07.2011)‘The riches belong to nobody, certainly not to our family’ The head of a former royal family renounced any personal claim to billions of dollars’ worth of ancient treasure discovered in a temple in Thiruvanantharam, the kingdom his ancestors once ruled. Padma Rao Sundarji speaks to Uthradam Thirunal Marthanda Varma, the former King of Tranvancore. PRS: What ...
A is for Awpheesh (as in Office). This is where the average Kolkakatan goes and spends a day hard at work. And if he works for the ‘Vest Bengal Gawrment’
he will arrive at 10, wipe his forehead till 11, have a tea break at 12, throw around a few files at 12.30, break for lunch at 1, smoke the 7th unfiltered cigarette at 2, break for 5th cup of tea at 3, sleep sitting down at 4 and go home at 4:30. It’s a hard life!
B is for Bhision. For some reason many Bengalis don’t have good bhision. In fact in Kolkata most people are wearing spectacles all the time….Bhishon Bhalo and Bibhotso…. though means opposite …used for same situations.. depending on the Beauty of fairer
sex…are close …almost in a tie for second spot….
C is for Chappell. Currently, this is the Bengali word for the Devil,for the worst form of evil. In the night mothers put their kids to sleep saying, ‘Na ghumoley ebar Chappell eshey dhorey niye jabe.’
D is for Debashish or any other name starting with Deb. By an ancient law every fourth Bengali Child has to be named Debashish. So you have a Debashish everywhere and trying to get creative they are also called Deb, Debu, Deba with variations like Debopriyo,
Deboprotim, Debojyoti, etc. thrown in at times….as creations of God himself !!
E is for Eeesh. This is a very common Bengali exclamation made famous by Aishwarya Rai in the movie Devdas. It is estimated that on an average a Bengali, especially Bengali women, use eeesh 10,089 times every year. ‘Ei Morechhey’ is a close second to Eeesh.
F is for Feeesh. These are creatures that swim in rivers and seas and are a favourite food of the Bengalis. Despite the fact that a fish market has such strong smells, with one sniff a Bengali knows if a fish is all right. If not, he will say ‘eeesh what feeesh
G is for Good name. Every Bengali boy will have a good name like Debashish or Deboprotim and a pet name like Motka, Bhombol, Thobla, etc. While every Bengali girl will have pet names like Tia, Tuktuki, Mishti, Khuku, et cetera.
H is for Harmonium. This Bengali equivalent of a rock guitar. Take four Bengalis and a Harmonium and you have the successors to The Bheatles!
I is for Ileesh. This is a feeesh with 10,987 bones which would kill any ordinary person, but which the Bengalis eat with releeesh!
J is for Jhola. No selfrespecting Bengali is complete without his Jhola. It is a shapeless cloth bag where he keeps all his belongings and he fits an amazing number of things in. Even as you read this there are two million jholas bobbling around Kolkata, and
they all look exactly the same! Note that ‘Jhol’with mysterious condiments.. . as in Maachher Jhol is a close second. Jhaamela and Jachhetai are distant 3rd and 4th
K is for Kee Kaando! It used to be the favourite Bengali exclamation till eeesh took over because of Aishwarya Rai.Kee mushkil is a close second.
L is for Lungi, the dress for all occasions. People in Kolkata manage to play football and cricket wearing it not to mention the daily trip in the morning to the local bajaar. Now there is talk of a lungi expedition to Mt Everest.
M is for Minibaas. These are dangerous half buses whose antics would effortlessly frighten the living daylights out of all James Bond stuntmen as well as Formula 1 race car drivers.
N is for Nangto. This is the Bengali word for Naked. It is the most interesting naked word in any language!
O is for Oil. The Bengalis believe that a touch of mustard oil will cure anything from cold (oil in the nose), to earache (oil in the ear), to cough (oil on the throat) to piles (oil you know where!).
P is for Phootball. This is always a phavourite phassion of the
Kolkattan. Every Bengali is born an expert in this game. The two biggest clubs there are MOHUNBAGAN and
East Bengal and when they play the city comes to a stop.
Q is for Koshchen (question) as in “Mamatadi koshchens Cheap Ministaar in Writaars Buiding.”
R is for Robi Thakur. Many many years ago Rabindranath got the Nobel Prize. This has given the right to all Bengalis no matter where they are to frame their acceptance speeches as if they were directly related to the great poet and walk with their head held
high. This also gives Bengalis the birthright to look down at Delhi and Mumbai and of course ‘all non-Bengawlees’! Note that ‘Rawshogolla’ comes a close second!
S is for Shourav. Now that they finally produced a genuine cricketer, that too a captain, Bengalis think that he should be allowed to play until he is 70 years old.
T is for Trams. Hundred years later there are still trams in Kolkata. Of course if you are in a hurry it’s faster to walk….Trams are still existing in Paris too…….you see !
U is for Aambrela. When a Bengali baby is born he is handed one.
V is for Bhaayolence. Bengalis are the most non-violent violent people around. When an accident happens they will fold up their sleeves, shout and scream and curse and abuse, “Chherey De Bolchhi” but the last time someone actually hit someone was in 1939.
W is for Water. For three months of the year the city is underwater and every year for the last 200 years the authorities are taken by surprise by this!
X is for X’mas. It’s very big in Kolkata, with Park Street fully lit
up and all Bengalis agreeing that they must eat cake that day.
Y is for Yesshtaarday. Which is always better than today for a Bengali (see R for Robi Thakur)?. It is also for Jubraj Shingh and Joga.
Z is for Jebra, Joo, and Jipper.
(contributed by : Amr on 08.10.2012)A is for Awpheesh (as in Office). This is where the average Kolkakatan goes and spends a day hard at work. And if he works for the ‘Vest Bengal Gawrment’ he will arrive at 10, wipe his forehead till 11, have a tea break at 12, throw around a few files at 12.30, break for lunch ...